It has been 25 years since the Genocide in Rwanda. Starting tomorrow, April 6, is genocide commemoration month in Rwanda, marking the 25th anniversary of the Genocide Against the Tutsis.
It all began in the evening of April 6, 1994, when the plane carrying President Juvenal Habyarimana and his Burundi counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira, was shot down as it landed in Kigali, possibly up to a million people, mostly Tutsi, but also opposition Hutus, were slaughtered.
A million people, even though the figure is still controversial, is still too many lives to have died for no other reason than hate. 25 years later, families are still feeling the pain of losing loved ones, friends and neighbors; burnt and looted properties, and most of the survivors’ lives have never been the same again. It’s said that some survivors, to date are still searching for the remains of their loved ones to properly bury and find closure.
To the rest of us; in Kenya, Africa and the rest of the world, have we learnt the lessons that these heinous acts perpetrated against Tutsis in Rwanda taught us? Did we really learn anything from the Rwandan Genocide as a people? Or do we think it was just a Rwandan problem, an isolated case that can’t happen again!
Most of us, the youth of today were born after that Genocide, and the closest we’ve come to it is through our history books — if you did history at school — and therefore don’t really understand its magnitude. Most millennials rarely watch the news, and even our media don’t give this event a priority, hence the commemorations might go unnoticed, and we might go on living in the illusion that the Genocide never happened.
Some people, even the politicians who were around when the Genocide was taking place; innocent people whose only crime was being born Tutsis were being annihilated, are still denying and disagreeing on various facts about the Genocide. It’s sad.
The world could have done something but it chose not to, maybe because it was just another African tribe against another, and maybe they had other important matters to take care of than go stop Africans from killing one another. This shame and guilt is still eating up their conscience, and probably that’s the reason most of them are adamant to speak about it. Still living in denial. Deny to the last day.
Does a whole nation have to disappear from the face of the earth for you to call it a Genocide?
But if we don’t speak about it, how are we going to ensure that it never happens again? Speaking is the only way we ensure such evil is never again perpetrated against people. Truth be told, as a society we haven’t learnt anything from the Rwandan Genocide, otherwise we wouldn’t be sitting mum while people are being killed in Mali today.
We all have a responsibility as Kenyans, as Africans, and as the world to ensure the lessons of Rwanda Genocide are never forgotten so as to ensure the same doesn’t happen again anywhere else.